Approved April 20, 2011. Effective July 1, 2011. Reaffirmed September 2013. Revised November 2019.
The strengths and capacities of ACRL have enabled the association to sustain exemplary programs and results for its members and to shape policies and practices of vital interest to higher education. ACRL’s Plan for Excellence continues that path and focuses attention on four areas that capitalize on our strengths, deliver high member value, and heighten our impact:
These strategic areas will be supported by financial and operational planning, and will guide the development and implementation of programs and services that target education, advocacy and member engagement.
ACRL’s leadership views strategic thinking and planning as an ongoing process. Adoption of this plan for excellence affirms the general intent and direction articulated by the association’s core ideology, envisioned future, shorter-term goals, and objectives. Progress will be assessed annually and will guide the operational planning process. The plan for excellence will be updated based on achievement of the goals and their continued relevance as new needs and opportunities arise.
Timeless Core Ideology
To lead academic and research librarians and libraries in advancing learning and scholarship.
Core Organizational Values
ACRL is committed to:
ACRL is dedicated to creating diverse and inclusive communities in the Association and in academic and research libraries. This core commitment permeates the work of the Association, cutting across all ACRL sections, committees, interest and discussion groups, and communities of practice. The Association will acknowledge and address historical racial inequities; challenge oppressive systems within academic libraries; value different ways of knowing; and identify and work to eliminate barriers to equitable services, spaces, resources, and scholarship.
Long-term Envisioned Future
Academic and research librarians and libraries are essential to a thriving global community of learners and scholars.
Vivid Description of a Desired Future
ACRL elevates the position, recognition, and impact of all academic and research libraries and librarians as catalysts in exceptional research and learning. Academic libraries play a critical role in building diverse, welcoming, and equitable communities; developing inclusive organizations, spaces and services; guarding against policies and practices that intentionally or unintentionally create racial inequalities; embodying diversity in the profession; and creating conditions so that all users are respected and supported in their intellectual dialogues and pursuits. Librarians and their colleagues design services that provide scholars and learners the unfettered ability to create, access, evaluate, and use knowledge. College and university students are information literate, informed scholars and citizens who value the opinions, perspectives, and experiences of others. Facile use of information sources and discovery techniques enables them to succeed in their coursework and future careers preparing them to lead new national and global initiatives. Partnering with academic librarians to collect and organize research data, faculty break new ground in their respective fields. Academic libraries, constantly transforming to meet the evolving needs of their campuses, are central to educational and research efforts.
Five-Year Goals and Objectives
Value of Academic Libraries
Goal: Academic libraries demonstrate alignment with and impact on institutional outcomes.
Goal: Advance equitable and inclusive pedagogical practices and environments for libraries to support student learning.
Research and Scholarly Environment
Goal: The academic and research library workforce accelerates the transition to more open and equitable systems of scholarship.
New Roles and Changing Landscapes
Goal: The academic and research library workforce effectively fosters change in academic libraries and higher education environments.
A strategic plan is designed to give a long-range vision of where the Association is going, what its future is, and strategic directions to take.
On April 20, 2011, adopted the ACRL Plan for Excellence effective July 1, 2011, and rescinded the former strategic plan, Charting Our Future: ACRL Strategic Plan 2020, also effective July 1, 2011. The plan is reviewed and reaffirmed or revised annually. March 2016 is the latest edition of the Pan for Excellence and adds a fourth goal area.
At the ALA Midwinter Meeting and ALA Annual Conference in 2010, the ACRL Leadership Council identified challenges facing academic librarianship and prioritized areas for action. These conversations along with Futures Thinking for Academic Librarians the 2010 Top Ten Trends in Academic Libraries and the Value of Academic Libraries report, as well as the Strategic Plan Activities Report, informed the strategic planning process.
The ACRL Board of Directors dedicated the fall 2010 Strategic Planning and Orientation Session (SPOS) to drafting a new strategic plan. The ACRL Board accomplished the goal of creating a focused and streamlined plan in drafting the ACRL Plan for Excellence. ACRL members were invited to provide feedback to the ACRL Board of directors via an online survey and during table discussions at the 2011 Midwinter Leadership Council Session. The Executive Committee reviewed the feedback submitted by members and made revisions to the draft ACRL Plan for Excellence in the spring of 2011. The full Board of Directors was invited to comment on and officially approve the revised draft.
The Board had dedicated time at the 2011 SPOS to reviewing draft Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to assess progress on implementing the strategic goals. The Board also dedicated time to discuss resource allocation to support the implementation of the Plan for Excellence.
The Board decided to keep the Key Performance Indicator process for ACRL Staff, as it related to Enabling Programs and Services. It was decided that goal-area committees would not have to complete Key Performance Indicators, instead working through a year-end report and work plan allowing them to assess their progress toward their objectives through indicating color levels (red, yellow, green).